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Fantasy Baseball: Do the Infield Shuffle


Previously on the Wire, special guest Yunel Escobar (TOR-SS) slumped his way to a disrespectful 45 percent ownership clip. He was targeted as a buy-low candidate that could possibly explode in the second half following his departure from Atlanta to Toronto. That window of buying low shattered following his appearance on the Long Island Press. Since appearing here on the Wire, Yunel went 8 for 17 (.471 AVG) with two home runs (his first two of the year) while driving in seven runs (four of them coming on a grand slam in Baltimore). Needless to say, Yunel’s ownership has spiked seven percent to 52 percent and owners scrambling for a SS should be paying attention to him now.

At this point in the fantasy season, the waiver wire is a gold mine just waiting to be harvested. You’ve got your super prospects just waiting for their crack in the bigs and your grizzled veterans trying to prove they still belong.

Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar chases a ground ball hit by Baltimore Orioles' Craig Tatum in the third inning of a baseball game Friday, July 16, 2010, in Baltimore. Tatum was out on the play. The Blue Jays won 4-2. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)


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Whatever the situation may be on the Wire, using the free agent pool to bolster your club is an essential tool used for crafting championship caliber fantasy baseball teams. When the dust settles, you want to be Jigsaw, an artist among mere mortals when it comes to fitting the pieces of your fantasy puzzle. This week, we’ll go around the horn and examine multiple options in the infield to secure a strong second half push.

Percentage of players available taken from Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball leagues

FIRST BASE

Ike Davis (NYM-1B): 21 percent owned- Outside of his debut in April, Davis has been like clockwork in the power department, depositing four homers a month in each since his arrival. Davis already has four bombs in July with plenty of opportunity to exceed that with a little more than a week’s worth of games left. While the average isn’t impressive (.258), Davis has proven to be a reliable source of RBI’s, driving in five runs in the final two games of the San Francisco series this past weekend. Owners looking for a cheap source of power—look no further than the cheaply owned local, Ike Davis.

Luke Scott (BAL-1B,OF): 11 percent owned- The O’s activated Scott from the DL on Monday after straining his left hamstring on June 30 and returned by going 1-for-4 at the dish. Prior to the injury, Scott had slammed 12 homers and driven in 30 runs while maintaining a respectable .274 average. In the last three seasons Scott has totaled close to or above 20 homers (18, 23, 25) while driving in close to 70 runs each year (64, 65, 77), all with pedestrian returns on average (.255, .257, .258). You’re essentially looking at a .250, 20 HR, 60-70 RBI campaign from a first baseman you can essentially acquire for free.

Best of the Rest under 25 percent owned:

Stats accumulated over the last week

Justin Smoak (SEA-1B): 11 percent owned- 7/19 3 R, 7 H, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 0 SB, .368 AVG

Matt LaPorta (CLE-1B,OF): 16 percent owned- 5/19 4 R, 5 H, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 SB, .263 AVG

SECOND BASE

Neil Walker (PIT-2B,3B): 5 percent owned- Neil Skywalker (too easy) has hit his way into fantasy relevancy, providing the five percent of people that actually own Walker with three consecutive multi-hit games. Walker went 7-for-17 last week, driving in four runs while scoring three runs himself. At probably one of the shallowest positions in fantasy baseball, Walker has provided a boost to averages across the 2B position, hitting safely in nine of the first 12 games of July. Walker’s four doubles on the month indicate nice gap-to-gap power which could turn into a few home runs as he’s slipped into the three-hole this weekend. Power from a historically powerless position is a nice commodity at this cheap a price.

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